Wednesday, January 28, 2009


All cyclists are used to the look.

You know the one I'm talking about. That why in the world are you wearing that inquisitive glare that the non-riders of the world, and there are far more of them than there are of us, give when they see you in full riding gear. It would be imposable to explain why we choose to dress in this manner, and so we just pretend that we don't see the look.

For the most part there seems to be something of a code. We ignore the looks, and they just don't ask outright. You know they all want to ask why we wear it, but it's few and far between that you run into people that actually do the deed. Frankly I'm surprised, as much freedom as we have in this country we tend to simply choose to do what everyone else does. Look around you, how many people do you see dressed in a completely different style.

Of course we pretend that it doesn't matter to us what people wear, which is why I supose this stuck out from my day.

Not long ago I was on a training ride, working out my legs on the mountain. I had lost a couple of layers over the course of the ride so that when I was finished I was wearing cycling shorts, a long sleeve base layer, and a very brightly colored jersey. I didn't bother putting on more layers when I got done riding, I simply tossed the bike into the back of my car and started heading home. I decided to stop and get milk along the way, and pulled into a gas station because it was really the only place that wouldn't require me to go out of my way. When I walked up to the counter the clerk laughed at me.
Oh she tried to cover, saying it was surprising to see me dressed like that when it was so cold outside, but she wasn't fooling anyone. I was quite taken aback by the situation. It was 40 degrees outside, I know because I drove past the bank displaying the temperature 100 yards later, and I was wearing long sleeves. What she was laughing was the spandex and bright colors, I knew it just as much as she did.

I don't really know why it doesn't happen more often. Let's be honest the clothing we wear when we're riding is just plain weird. Bright colors, form fitting, strange bulges on our rears, and we tend to wear the exact same thing as the people riding around us. Why don't people just go ahead and laugh at us more often. The most comfortable shorts I've ever ridden on were Castelli Chronos. They are still comfortable after hours on a bike, but once I sat in a chair in them for 50 minutes and I was unable to sit still.

I applaud the efforts of companies like TwinSix for making the jerseys a little easier on the eyes, and I have to say that if some group of people are going to be wearing spandex, well that group spending hours a day on a bike is probably a good idea. That should be your response the next time you get the look, "I'm wearing it so that you won't." It's a public service.